In which David is John the Baptist

I don’t know about you, but I was always taught in sunday-school that David (king of Israel) was told not to build Jehovah’s temple because he had blood on his hands and wasn’t fit to be the one doing the building (morally not quite up to snuff, don’t you know).
Apart from the fact that Solomon spends the first part of his reign killing people (I Kings 1-2), which ought to make one doubt that David’s disqualification had anything to do with having too many notches on his six-shooter, there is this nice little explanation of the situation courtesy of Solomon himself:

And Solomon sent to Hiram, saying, “Thou knowest how that David my father could not build an house unto the name of the Lord his God for the wars which were about him on every side, until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet. But now the Lord my God hath given me rest on every side…And, behold, I purpose to build an house unto the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spake unto David my father, saying, ‘Thy Son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build an house unto my name.’ “ (I Kings 5:3-5)

Given the scope of the building projects (I Kings 5-9), this just makes good sense. The resources needed, both money and labor, were incredible. David would have found it nearly impossible (and certainly extremely foolish) to attempt to build the temple while in the midst of consolidating his kingdom’s power through the various Canaanite campaigns.

However, the situation that disqualified David from being the proper candidate for building Jehovah’s temple is the very thing that enabled Solomon to be in a position to do so. David, by waging (righteous) wars, was able to hand his son a powerful and secure kingdom. Solomon finishes this work by dealing justice to the enemies of his father (all potential leaders of an insurrection) and making an alliance with Egypt (I Kings 3:1): Now he’s all set to begin building the temple of Jehovah.

David’s wars, far from being a moral deficiency, prepared the way before Solomon and made his paths straight (Mat. 3:3).


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